Black Music Month began in 1979 when Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams developed the idea to set aside a month dedicated to celebrating the impact of black music. Created by music business insiders, the group successfully lobbied President Jimmy Carter to host a reception on June 7th, 1979 to formally recognize the cultural and financial contributions of black music. Since 1979, Black Music Month has grown from a small commemoration to national proportions with events held annually across the country.

In 2000, US-Representative Chaka Fattah sponsored House Resolution 509, which formally recognized the importance of Black music on culture and the economy during President Bill Clinton’s administration. In 2009, President Barack Obama further defined June as African American Music Appreciation Month declaring the start of summer as a celebration for all the black “musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters [who] have made enormous contributions to our culture.”

“The music of our Nation has always spoken to the condition of our people and reflected the diversity of our Union. African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters have made enormous contributions to our culture by capturing the hardships and aspirations of a community and reminding us of our shared values.”

Share with us your favorite black music icon that has shaped your life by using hashtag #uslnjaamam2016.

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